Your Medicare Enrollment Timeline

Leah Sugar Kari, AMR, FHIAS, Retired Pharmaceutical Representative and Licensed Insurance Agent Specializing in Medicare Products

No matter how accomplished we adults are, the subject of enrolling into Medicare is one we approach cautiously and respectfully. We simply do not want to get our enrollment into Medicare wrong. Here are some frequently asked questions you may find helpful:

How early should I speak to someone about enrolling in Medicare? It is never too early to ask questions about your eligibility and enrollment into Medicare. Knowing how and when to enroll is crucial. Enrolling at the proper time means coverage for you and the avoidance of penalties and delayed coverage if you do not. If you are still working and will continue to work after you are eligible for Medicare, you will want to allow plenty of time to have a clear understanding of your options. Most of my clients call at least six months to a year before their Medicare eligibility to discuss the information they will need to know about how to enroll in Medicare and, if still employed, how their employer’s coverage will work or will not work with Medicare. If you are eligible for Medicare due to disability, your Medicare coverage will start at your 25th month of disability benefits. If you are currently claiming Social Security benefits, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and B, and your card will be mailed to you before your 65th birthday. A visit to www.medicare.gov or www.socialsecurity.gov will provide useful information on these topics and provide guidance for enrollment. Or a short, simple phone call to an agent who specializes in Medicare insurance products can save time, money, and unnecessary aggravation.

Your Medicare initial enrollment period is three months before your birth month, your birth month, and three months after your birth month. Your Medicare benefit will begin on the first day of  your 65th birth month. If you are born on the 1st of the month, your Medicare benefit will begin the 1st of the month prior to your actual birth month. Missing this enrollment period means you will not be able to enroll into Medicare until the general enrollment period of Jan. 1 to March 31 of the next year. Your Medicare coverage will not be effective until July 1 of that same year. This results in serious delays in receiving your Medicare benefit and relying on short-term policies or being uninsured until your benefit becomes effective. Missing your enrollment period can also result in significant penalties for both Part A and Part B. Adhering to Medicare’s enrollment requirements ensures a smooth and effortless transition into Medicare that you will enjoy.

Leah Sugar Kari specializes in showing Medicare-eligible people their insurance options. Reach Leah for comments at 520-484-3807 or email [email protected] (TTY users dial 711.)